Sherwin Kelly was born in Les Cruces, New Mexico in 1895. He pursed a metallurgical engineering- degree at the University of Kansas in 1917.

Shortly after obtaining his degree he signed up to fight as a pilot dur- ing the First World War. He ended up being a night bomber pilot out of Paris, France.

After the end of the war, Kelly stayed in Paris to continue studying metallurgy at the Sorbonne, where he learned how to use electromagnetic fields to find metals such as gold.

He would end up teaching back at his alma matter at the University of Kansas, as well as the University of

Toronto while working on his master’s degree.

In addition to this he worked with the US Army Intelligence Bureau, the early version of the CIA, one such assignment he was sent on in the late 1950’s was to Cuba shortly before the rise of Fidel Castro and had to flee the country shortly after he took power.

Kelly came to Merritt in 1958 on a request from a mining company to make geophysical surveys of Iron and Swakum Mountain.

Kelly had spent a number of years as a consultant in electrical prospect- ing and had done work in places such as Alaska, Argentina, Newfoundland, and Bolivia.

After his work on prospecting Iron and Swakum mountains was completed, Kelly decided to stay in the Nicola Valley and began working on a number of his own claims.

He also began working for Craigmont, as well as becoming President of two geophysical consulting firms and compiled a number of different reports derived from his mineral explorations in the Nicola Valley.

In addition to this, Sherwin also began to work within the community. He served as the President of the Merritt District Chamber of Commerce for six years spanning the 1960s and 1970s, as well as served as a director for the Provincial Chamber of Commerce.

He served as a member of the local Arts Council, and even won “Merritt’s Man Of The Year” in February of 1969.

Sherwin is also credited in organizing the Coquihalla Caravan trips, which was a series of caravans over what would now be the Coquihalla pass to show the provincial government that there was a great deal of interest from the people of the Interior to build a pass through the Coquihalla.

This would ultimately come to be when the Coquihalla Highway would be completed in 1986.

In 1991, Kelly was awarded with the Order of British Columbia, the first Merrittonian to receive the highest honour that the Provincial government can bestow.

His award reads that “Following Mr. Kelly’s move to Merritt, at the tender age of 65, he contributed more to his community and to his province than most do
in a lifetime.”

Kelly liked to say that he never retired, and was still working as a mining consultant in his 90s.

Sherwin Kelly would pass away in 1994 at the age of 99.